Launching OfficeUS Issues
Wednesday May 14, 2014
A conversation around the 25 OfficeUS Issues to be explored at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale
The work of Office US is organized around 25 Office US Issues, a set of narratives that trace and address pressing questions from the last 100 years of architectural thinking and practice to today. The 25 Office US Issues resonate with the archive of projects and offices of the Office US Repository library that contains projects designed by US offices working abroad.
Individually and collectively, these issues and projects tell multiple, imbricated stories of US architectural firms, typologies, and technologies, as well as a broader narrative of modernization and its global reach. Together, the elements of OfficeUS create an historical record of the contribution of the United States to global architectural thought, and a petri dish in which that record is submitted to contemporary agents of disruption, critique, pessimism, and optimism.
25 OFFICE US ISSUES
The origin, the place of departure, is often a place of return. In 1893, the Beaux-Arts-trained architect Charles Follen McKim, along with Daniel Burnham and other eminent artists and architects, undertook the establishment of a prize for post-graduate study in Rome—the ur-place of the classical—conscious that his journey was one of return. In 1913, four years after his death, and twenty years after the ideological founding of the American Academy in Rome, McKim, Mead & White completed the Academy’s American Renaissance style building that still today houses American recipients of the Rome Prize, and brings US citizens back to a certain kind of home. There are no confusions or hesitations in the semiotic journey back to classical Rome, yet the last hundred years have seen far more complex forms, typologies, and forces shaping the architectures of US architects building abroad. An export was an import, was an export, was an import? Office US Issues
EX-IM examines the circulation of ideas through different spaces, individuals and socio-political conditions that have shaped the collective imaginary of 20th century architecture.
Since its founding in 1913, the Rockefeller Foundation’s focus on “promoting the well-being of humanity” has amounted to an impact of $14 billion current dollars worldwide. The first building it supported on the basis of missionary purposes and scientific philanthropy, the Peking University Medical Center (PUMC), established US medical and health standards around the globe. Coolidge & Shattuck modeled the building after the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, disguised in Chinese traditional materials and styles. On September 12, 1921, Rockefeller Jr. wrote to Rockefeller Sr. “we are delighted beyond expression at the Peking Union Medical College buildings, which are perfectly adapted to the purposes and a great contribution not only to science but to architecture.” What architecture? Office US Issues
TROJAN HORSES examines how architecture sneaks in programmatic and ideological agendas into foreign territories in a state of disguise.
Launched in Detroit in 1895, the office of Albert Kahn Associates was influenced by Taylorist models of production. Kahn rose to prominence as the architect of industrial buildings for Ford Motor Company and other Detroit automobile manufacturers. His factory design expertise led to Kahn’s appointment by Stalin as the architect of the Soviet Union’s industrial landscape, laying the foundation for wartime tank production. Working abroad prepared the office for “coordinating experienced experts” in the expansion of factories producing war material in the United States. Albert Kahn Associates still operates today from offices in Detroit, Michigan; Birmingham, Alabama; and Sao Paolo, Brazil. Kahn’s office has been seen as a paradigm of efficient practice, a precursor of SOM, HOK, and Gensler. If, as HOK’s founding partner George Kassabaum suggested in 1961, modern times required systematic procedures, then what might be the pertinent procedures and tools for contemporary networked, crowd-sourced, technologically augmented, and socially progressive practices? What makes a contemporary practice ”best”? Office US Issues
BEST PRACTICES examines the effects of organizational structures, business models and tools on the life of a practice, as well as on its architectural products.
The work of the largest US practices after the 1930s largely followed the path of oil, first in Venezuela, Colombia, and Indonesia, and then in the Middle Eastern Gulf States after World War II. Governmental headquarters and US embassies, vast military cities, new towns for oil workers, airports, banking towers, commercial centers, and luxury hotels signaled the intent of newly wealthy oil states to place themselves on the world stage. While US architects chased the specter of petroleum-fueled development and the speculative finance economy to which it gave rise, often enabled by engineering firms like Bechtel or contracted through federal entities like the US Army Corps of Engineers, the oil-rich clients received some of modernism’s most complete and comprehensive ideal forms. The meeting of tabula rasa conditions and oil money allowed the projection of total worlds and ideal cities, perhaps nowhere more clearly than in Brown Daltas’s vast King Khalid Military City (1974-87). The next wave of oil-fueled developments occurred with the 1990s boom, resulting in rapid development in the U.A.E., Qatar, Azerbaijan, and other new inheritors of the petroleum ideal. As energy policies move towards nationally self-sustainable models, what will be the scope and source of the next architectures of energy? Office US Issues
CRUDE IDEALS examines the energy resource economies as drivers of city form, including contemporary smart cities and off-the-grid settlements.
The US Consulate in Istanbul, housed in the Palazzo Corpi, was the first US government-owned diplomatic premise in Europe (from 1882-2003) and the first and only one to be acquired in a poker game. Built by Italian architect Giacomo Leoni, the US presence in Istanbul was housed within an architecture devoid of US principles and lifestyles. When SOM was hired to design the Hotel Istanbul in 1952, Conrad Hilton conceived his business model as one in which US politics would be deployed through notions of design and comfort. Under the guise of democracy and freedom, hotels, as spatialized capitalist warfare tools, allowed for business meetings to occur, new products to be consumed, and Western lifestyles to be subtly introduced within the collective imaginary and desire structures of cities around the world. Hotels, but also museums, cinemas, and other spaces of collective forms of leisure have been operating as tools in the spatial dissemination of capitalism and democracy ever since. What democracy? Office US Issues
DEMOCRATIZING ACTION examines the role of architecture in the dissemination of political agendas.
Juan Trippe, founder of PanAm (Pan American World Airways) in 1927, launched the InterContinental Hotel chain in 1946, immediately following WWII, building hotels at each of the airline’s new destinations. The majority of the buildings were conceived as infrastructural frameworks taking the form of standard concrete, modular cell structures—the building blocks of modernization. Over 135 InterContinental interiors were designed by in-house architect Neil Prince to include the latest built-in technological and architectural innovations, promising comfort, “good life,” and an experience of American lifestyle with a regional flair. Meanwhile, InterContinental’s rival, Hilton, built “little Americas” providing similar comforts, such as air conditioning, driven by the motivation to secure democratic outposts in contested territories. While globalization continues to spread US notions of comfort against local ones around the earth, the question is moving into outer space. What’s the next frontier of comfort? Office US Issues
INTERCONTINENTAL COMFORT examines the historical construction and contemporary forms attached to conceptions of well-being, comfort and leisure around the globe.
Designed by Welton Becket & Associates, Conrad Hilton’s modernist “Little America” in Havana opened in 1958. Less than ten months later, Castro adopted the hotel for his temporary headquarters following the ousting of President Fulgencio Batista. Conrad Hilton’s dream “to show the countries most exposed to Communism the other side of the coin—the fruits of the free world,” was retroactively and unexpectedly fulfilled in Havana through the communist appropriation of Hilton’s built-in comforts, including air conditioning. In its smooth transition between the two dominant political systems, modern architecture came to symbolize the success of both ideologies. In Havana, the communist takeover of Hilton’s luxury and comfort, initially intended for the select few, had a distinct ideological function. Though the story of the Havana Hilton may be different from that of Albert Kahn’s Soviet factories, which allowed an immediate translation of capitalist efficiencies into socialist war preparedness, or from TAC’s parking garage in the city center of Kuwait whose ground-level market was transformed into the Souk Al-Manakh black market stock exchange (famous for its sudden 1982 crash), in all of these cases architecture more than survives the ideological transformations taking place within it, on occasion it even aids them. Office US Issues
REPROGRAMMING examines the architectural implications of technological, political and ideological paradigm shifts.
“Unfinished Business,” the title for the 1958 World’s Fair Exhibition in Brussels, developed by the “American Idealism in Action” group, displayed “America’s view of the problems it expects to face in the next decade and how we envisage their solution: Education, Integration, Reconstruction of Urban Centers, Maintenance of Individualism.” The exhibition was motivated by the idea that “not dealing with the Negro problem would backfire badly.” And the exhibition did, in fact, frankly display the US racial and social problems of the day. However, the exhibit drew sufficient pressure from US conservative politicians and national press that the US government closed it shortly after it opened. Six years later the Civil Rights Act became law. Today, fifty years later, many of the same issues persist and new ones have emerged, however, an exhibition about the NSA’s surveillance architecture, the double standards for gender retribution or acquisition of power, labor practices within construction sites in the US or abroad would hardly upset any politician or make the cover of any printed media unless a business model were attached to it. Historically invisible within western culture, the gay or the elderly are today central figures within the imaginary of the civil society, all accompanied by specific architectures and business plans. Equality and democracy seem to come faster when attached to a business plan. Office US Issues
THE INVISIBLES explores the protocols that perpetuate the exclusion of social groups from the decision making table.
Charles and Ray Eames’s film installation “Glimpses of the USA” depicted a day in the life of a US citizen for the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959. Their contribution to this USIA managed event consisted of 2,200 images of people playing, working, shopping, living and loving, flashing across seven screens in a thirteen-minute loop. Repetition of scenes on college campuses, in the suburbs and on the US highways was intended to disarm all potential Soviet arguments about the fabrication of these scenes of life in the US. Though in the case of Eames’s “Glimpses,” the goal was explicitly one of constructing the image of undeniable national prosperity, even superiority, involving thus the media of photography and film in the construction of national identity, architectural photography and film have been instrumental more generally in the production of architectural history and influence. European modernism would not be imaginable without Corbusier’s and Gropius’s photographs of industrial architecture in the US, early SOM work in the US and abroad can only be imagined through Ezra Stoller’s camera angles, Venturi and Scott Brown’s videos of the old Las Vegas still seem new, and what would architectural journals print if it were not for Iwan Baan’s travels around the globe. Images make architecture and local specificity travel abroad, and though they still occasionally contribute to the construction of recognizable national identities, what might be the medium and the message of contemporary global citizenship? From US (the United States) to us (a collective), what are today’s “glimpses”? Office US Issues
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP looks into historical and contemporary practices of representing national and global citizenship in architecture, images, drawings and film.
Few state representatives embody the invisible power of resources, or possess the ability to mount magical spectacles of national progress, the way Venezuelan “modern” statesmen did. Even without fantasies induced by abundant oil, which were at the core of what Fernando Coronil called “magical states,” the production of a nation-state and national mythology have proven to be both intoxicating and especially productive for architecture. As relatively poor third-world countries emerged as new nations from their respective decolonization processes, all of their modernization projects immediately achieved the mythological status of nation building. These processes had the momentary capacity to turn US architecture firms into the magical agents of progress and modernity. Commissions like Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Complex in Dhaka or Edward Durell-Stone’s National Assembly and Presidential Palace in Islamabad are direct representations of these new states’ democratic processes. When considered in tandem with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, designed by Kahn and Durell-Stone respectively, this constellation of projects points to these architects’ long term—magical—involvement in the building of the states of Bangladesh, Indian and Pakistan. Office US Issues
MAGICAL STATES refers to architecture’s participation in the national processes of modernization and in the definition of nationhood, both made more complicated with the involvement of foreign “magicians.”
In 1946, Soviet school children presented a two-foot wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States to Ambassador Averell Harriman. He hung the seal in his office. On May 26, 1960, Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. presented the same Great Seal to the United Nations, including the embossed bug that had been broadcasting to the Soviets for six years. Four years later, the US State Department announced that more than forty hidden microphones had been found embedded in the walls of the US Embassy in Moscow. As a result of a reciprocal agreement between Washington and Moscow, a new location was granted and the US chose SOM to design the new embassy. During the establishment of the “Conditions of Construction,” Russians managed to gain control of the production of the building’s structure, all under close US supervision. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October of 1979. In 1985, a routine x-ray test of a structural pillar uncovered anomalies in the concrete superstructure. Further inspection revealed that almost every pillar had been implanted with rudimentary devices creating a passive electrical grid that allowed the building itself to broadcast the conversations it was supposed to protect. Congress approved the demolition of the upper floors of the “smart” concrete building to rebuild a four-floor, steel superstructure isolated from the structure below. Fifteen hundred containers with raw construction materials were shipped from the US to Moscow with diplomatic security clearance so that they would never leave the sight of US agents. While today’s informational space is based in portable devices—closer to the 1946 seal—and security threads traverse hackable firewalls, current advances in nanotechnology and situated technologies might make walls do more than listen or speak. Office US Issues
SMART CONCRETE explores advancements in material research and building technology innovation in relation to their economic, technical and social performance.
Following the suicide bombings in Beirut in 1983, security became a critical issue for the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations (FBO). The Inman Report, submitted by the State Department in the aftermath of the bombings, called for the replacement of 126 out of 226 diplomatic posts worldwide. Since the attacks on US embassies continued after the Inman Report was adopted, a number of more stringent security measures were added, culminating with the three scales of the Standard Embassy Plan produced and implemented in over twenty new embassies under the guidance of the new head of Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO), retired General Charles Williams. In response to the criticism of both the US foreign policy and of the new crop of US embassies, the Department of State launched the Design Excellence Program in early 2011, which revived the conversation about openness versus security in embassy design. It is no surprise that the most passionate expressions of both positive and negative sentiment towards the US involve its embassy architecture. Suffering the symptoms of larger political currents these sites and architectures provide a particularly valuable opportunity to set the tone of future international relationships. What if the architect’s tools went beyond tall walls and distances to include anticipating historical change?” Office US Issues
ANGER-LOVE MANAGEMENT explores the spaces, typologies and protocols of the architectures of diplomacy.
The London Docklands, the fabled site of the Canary Wharf development, which congregates the world’s financial power to a degree matched only by New York’s World Trade Center, was developed by the Canadian firm Olympia & York, the same entity that developed its Manhattan counterpart. Initially master-planned by SOM and subsequently by Koetter Kim, Canary Wharf includes tenants like Citigroup, HSBC, Barclays, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch, and boasts the building that was London’s tallest for two decades, Cesar Pelli’s One Canada Square. Over the years, Canary Wharf went in and out of financial stability. Olympia & York bought the plan from a previous developer, only to declare bankruptcy as the London commercial property market collapsed in 1992, and then in a slightly different form (as the Canary Wharf Group) they reacquired it again in 1995. In 2007, individual buildings in this part of London, now fully transformed from its derelict dockland life and branded as one of the key financial centers of the world, cost over a billion dollars. The developers are now extending Canary Wharf. Dreaming of financial technology tenants they brought the designer of the Google and Facebook offices, Gensler, to re-envision the interior of the 39th floor of One Canada Square as: “Europe’s largest Fin/Tech accelerator.” At the 2012 Tech Week, Europe proposed that Level39, as the accelerator space is called, “will offer Tech City startups a chance to disrupt the financial sector.” Ultimately, every aspect of this development, including the mildly revolutionary hopes for “disruption,” is part of a tax and profit speculation at the scale at which private finance has previously shaped cities only in North America. Office US Issues
PROFIT MARGIN explores the economic dimension of the global production of architecture, with the focus on the agents whose financial interest has the capacity to transform entire cities and territories.
“Once upon a time in the West”, a 1968 Sergio Leone spaghetti western film, places the imaginary of the west somewhere half way between Europe and America, Italy and the US, somewhere in the middle the dusty desert of otherness, faraway yet so close to the wilderness of the Wild West. When Robert A.M. Stern Architects was asked to produce in 1988 the Hotel Cheyenne for Euro Disney, the wild west seemed an appropriate symbol of the national dimension of the Disney company. “This 1,000-room hotel is organized as a complex of two-story buildings conceived in the image of a nineteenth-century American western town, but filtered through the lens of Hollywood. While the streets of typical western towns ran in straight lines and opened to endless vistas of prairie and mountains, the streets of Hotel Cheyenne, like those of the “back-lot” western towns built by Hollywood studios, have vistas angled to screen out “backstage” areas from the cameramen and the actors who, in this case, are one and the same–the hotel guests.” Be it through the lens of Hollywood or particular architecture depictions of the US, “Little Americas,” following Conrad Hilton’s term of endearment for his hotels, have contributed to a space of total re-representation in which lifestyle magazines, cinematic imaginaries and thematic architectures produce more often than not, a mythical “American” reality. Office US Issues
LITTLE AMERICAS explores the changing notions of “Americanism” through spatial, programmatic and aesthetic strategies.
In 1989, as the Berlin wall fell and the USSR began to collapse, Gunnar Birkerts received a call from the Latvian Architect Association. They had awarded him the commission for the Latvian National Library and Archives. Birkerts, who had fled Latvia in 1948, could now return to his homeland to build the first national landmark for the newly independent country. But the project was mired in political turmoil, an antiquated code system, and construction delays. By the time the building got off the ground in 2008, almost twenty years after its commission, Birkerts and Associates had helped to rewrite the national fire code, create handicap accessibility standards, and introduced full-scale building enclosure mock-ups to Latvian construction companies. In fact, Birkerts was the first to demand these measures as part of the construction process for all new public buildings. When the Library opens in September 2014, it will culminate a twenty-five year endeavor to bring Latvian building standards up to par with international code. Office US Issues
CODE UPGRADE explores the history of the US contribution to the writing of building codes and laws that govern the production of cities and buildings internationally, introducing the legal and built protocols that help cultivate a civil society.
The Guggenheim Foundation was, in 2014, seeking a curator in urban studies and digital initiatives to launch an international architectural competition for the design of the new Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki as an addition to the Guggenheim global constellation (New York, Bilbao, Abu Dhabi). According to reporting in the Economist from December 2013, a study by AEA Consulting (a New York firm that specializes in cultural projects), two dozen new cultural centers focused on museums, globally branded or not, are currently due to be built in various countries at an estimated cost of $250 billion. In the meantime, the Helsinki project has already prompted protests by the Finns, who express concerns over the global branding of culture. “Visitors’ spending in Bilbao in the first three years after the museum opened raised over €100m in taxes for the regional government, enough to recoup the construction costs and leave something over.” As culture, and with it architecture, becomes the new currency for the production of capital, what are the effects on the understanding and production of culture? Office US Issues
CULTURE CAPITAL explores the consequences of the monetization of the architectures and networks of culture.
Describing the other-worldly impression of “machine-absolute” buildings like SOM’s Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, Peter Smithson wrote that they “arouse the strongest cargo-cult feelings in foreigners, and are truly hints of une architecture autre.” His term referred to the shock of Melanesian islanders at the mystical sight of US warplanes during World War II and the cargo that accompanied them, and to the elaborate cult ceremonies they invented after the war to copy the forms of these planes in bamboo and paint, hoping this mimicry would bring the same abundance from the gods. Smithson interpreted the “rash of black towers” in England as intending to signify the national “nearness to the fountain of technological culture.” His reading of the emulations of the American tradition of expensive and technologically advanced detail as the wishful ritualistic performance could, at the end of the twentieth century, apply to large swaths of global architectural production. And thus his concluding remarks on American architecture become a caution to the architectural field at large: “American architects almost have it made; if they could only stop worrying about architecture.” Office US Issues
CARGO CULT explores the spaces of technocratic desire, symbolism and architecture’s capacity to represent progress, modernization, or success.
US architecture offices have never established expertise in developing spaces of collective inhabitation. The lack of public housing projects in the US has translated into an absence of new models that attempt to understand the typological, social, and spatial transformations of the collective aspirations of a particular society over time. The expertise of US architects has been developed within the constraints of a client, a program, and a private property line. The inability to understand architecture as part of a larger urban and social framework has produced an objectification of the American architectural project. In other words, US architects have consistently been unable to respond to the social and political questions that their European counterparts, fueled by public competitions, have historically addressed. Those US architects who have desired to explore housing typologies have ventured into foreign lands to test the social and spatial implications of the oldest of all typologies. In 1969, for example, Christopher Alexander won the international competition for a housing project in Lima, Peru. The jury praised his project for “a freshness of approach, a commitment to the dignity and worth of individual, a recognition and understanding of the complex linkages between the individual, his family, his belongings, his neighbors and the entire community.” Office US Issues
HOUSING PUBLIC GOOD explores the architectural, social and political prototypes that allow access to affordable housing as a global human right.
On February 4, 2002, in the same year that Sorg Architects received the commission to build the embassy compound in Kabul, the CIA used an unmanned Predator drone in a targeted killing for the first time. The strike was in Paktia province, two hundred kilometers south of Kabul, near the city of Khost. The intended target was Osama bin Laden. In 1956, representatives of the United States traveled to Kabul to display national technologies, goods, and pleasures in the Jeshyn International Fair. The design and construction of the US pavilion for that fair, commissioned by Jack Massey, the USIA exhibitions officer, had to be completed in six months. The Geodesic Dome, with patent number US 2,682,235 filed by Buckminster Fuller and awarded in 1954, was the structure chosen by Massey for the cultural display of transportation systems, TV sets, and agricultural techniques. The same structural system has been used over the years around the world as the stage for multiple fairs, civic buildings, art projects, and even direct military operations. In 1967, US antiwar protesters used the US Pavilion in Montreal, the Biosphere, a class 1 frequency 16 icosahedron of seventy-six meters in diameter, to denounce the bombs being dropped in Vietnam with shirts imprinted with “Stop the Bombs” and “Genocide.” Certain Architectures are designed to travel the ideological spectrum participating in different narratives by staying true to their own internal agendas. Office US Issues
BULLETS WITH-OUT IDEOLOGY explores the ideological openness of prototypical architecture, which by definition presents solutions in search of a problem.
The best, for the most for the least, a motto used by the Eames and a principle easily applicable to the project of modernity as a whole, consisted in providing a space of knowledge able to transmit fundamental spatial, formal and material principles to a vast amount of population. Through this process of optimization and expertise development, US architecture firms aimed to produce the best, for the most for the least, giving birth, on the trails of automotive and industrial modes of production and modernization to the corporate architecture office. Over the years, this productive optimism transformed into high expertise, allowing for the proliferation of hyper efficient production models with shorter delivery times and tighter budgets producing a series of protocols of production from detail sets, office manuals to protocols of management that allowed for the easy and efficient transmission of knowledge over peers and through generations producing a space of expertise and specialization able to fulfill and perpetuate particular needs, demands and aspirations. Within this mindset, innovation consisted in going outside of the box by surpassing the existing configurations of the box. The best became the tallest box, the biggest box, the fastest box… Office US Issues
SUPERLATIVES explores the expertise involved in producing architectures whose specific aim is to operate at the quantifiable limits of a particular technological or operational aim.
By the time the US self-service supermarket model began to travel the trade fare circuits, having debuted at the American Way Supermarket at Rome’s Third International Congress of Food Distribution, the Viennese American father of the mall had bean in the US for two decades. Having begun with retail and architecture of department stores Gruen’s most lasting contribution involved developing the model of suburban shopping center, which he imagined as nothing less than the civic epicenter of suburbia. He was responsible for over 50 of them in the US before a change of heart, which prompted his return to Europe. Golden era of the supermarket coincided with the rise of the mall, the two retail typologies defining the US landscape in a two-step. When the American Supermarket traveled to Zagreb in 1957 as part of USIA’a operations it was full of shiny shopping carts, cash registers and refrigerators filled with US produced food items. The impact of the exhibit was instantaneous in Yugoslavia, exciting both the politicians and the audiences so much that the first Yugoslavian supermarket was opened in Belgrade in 1958, with 70 more following shortly after across the country. In the US the superstore began to displace both the supermarket and the mall already by the 1980s. And though on demand, on line shopping is currently transforming the big box into a mechanized, optimized sorting machine in large portions of the first world economies, producing its supporting logistical landscape and infrastructure, superstores and malls are simultaneously being built by US architects around the world. Old and new retail typologies coexist in the unevenly developed world of global trade. Office US Issues
BIG BOX RULES explores the typologies of trade, the logics that instigate them and the physical landscapes that they in turn enable.
On March 20, 1883, five years before the Exposition Universelle of Paris, world leaders who had noticed that inventors did not attend the International Exhibition of Inventions in Vienna for fear that their work would be exploited, proposed creating an international treaty. Known as the Paris Convention, the treaty paved the way for international patent laws and helped to enforce them for the first time. Beginning January 6, 2014, the new Global Patent Prosecution Highway pilot program will operate as a trademark agreement among the established national agencies of its seventeen initial partners, which include Australia, Japan, China, Russia, Spain, and the United States. On January 24, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s latest registered trademark certificate for Apple’s “Distinctive Design & Layout.” The text describing the architectural branding of the space says: “The mark consists of the design and layout of a retail store. The store features a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled façade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front, and two narrower panels stacked on either side of the storefront within the store.” In a surreal twist, the patent of the space was granted in both black and white and in color, as if the stores were only an image. Now that architecture patents can be globally enforced by national institutions, we will surely see many rich regional takes on the perception of the “Apple Aura” that extend just safely beyond the image and form contained within the 4,277,913 and 4,277,914 patent registration numbers. Office US Issues